Cognitive Changes (Chemo Brain)

Cognitive Changes (Chemo Brain)

Cancer and its treatment can affect many aspects of your health, including your cognitive skills, or thinking process. Brain tumors, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and hormone therapies can result in significant cognitive changes, such as difficulty with concentration, memory, and multitasking. These types of cognitive changes are often called “chemo brain.”

Causes of Cognitive Changes with Brain Tumors

If you have been diagnosed with and treated for a brain tumor, there are many potential causes of cognitive changes. These include the location of the tumor itself and the effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy treatments. Seizures and the potential side effects of antiseizure medications may also contribute to changes in your cognitive skills. Other medical conditions and changes in your mood (such as depression) may play a role as well. Depending on the cause, the cognitive changes may persist or worsen over time.

Causes of Cognitive Changes with Other Types of Cancer

Regardless of where your tumor is located, cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy, as well as stress and emotional reactions related to your treatment, can result in cognitive changes. Unrelated medical or neurological conditions may also play a role. Depending on the cause, the symptoms may be short-lived or long lasting.

Types of Cognitive Problems

Cognitive changes can be obvious to others, or they can be so subtle that your coworkers, friends, and family fail to notice them. You may find it difficult to:

Concentrate and pay attention

Process thoughts quickly


Learn and recall new information

Find words and remember names

Your lifestyle may influence how much these changes have an impact on your daily living. If you are retired and have a more flexible schedule, you might find these symptoms easy to manage.

However, if you are working, parenting, or running a household, a change in your cognitive abilities may cause you significant distress. You may notice that you can handle one task without problems, but you become overwhelmed with multiple tasks, distractions, and deadlines.

Patient & Family

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Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre is today counted amongst Asia’s premier exclusive cancer centres that offer unique advantage of cutting edge technology, put to use by renowned super specialists. This potent combination of man and machine ensures world-class cancer care to not only patients from India, but also from the neighboring SAARC countries and others.

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